Tuesday 18 December 2018

'I am sure he was jumping in his living room in Barcelona' - Jurgen Klopp happy to win without Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp and Andrew Robertson celebrate after the match
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp and Andrew Robertson celebrate after the match
Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho. Photo: AP

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool had to make a statement of intent following the sale of Philippe Coutinho. Ending Manchester City's unbeaten run was an emphatic message.

Klopp said he knew he would be judged on his decision to allow the Brazilian to leave, but as the remaining members of the "Fab Four" scored in the 4-3 win - and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain delivered a majestic performance in Coutinho's old position - Liverpool showed how they would move on.

"It was the right statement," said Klopp. "It was not that I said in the meeting before the game, 'it would help a lot if you win and nobody speaks about Philippe Coutinho'. I am sure he was jumping in his living room in Barcelona, but, it is important we showed we can play without him and we did that."

Liverpool thrived with their courageous approach, attacking City in a way few sides have tried. Klopp said it was the only way he could be successful. "You have no alternatives to beat City you could win the lottery, hope they tackle each other and then you can stand deep in your own box and hope nothing happens but that it is not really likely," said Klopp.

"Being Liverpool we should not try this way. Then you don't have a lot of alternatives, you have none. You need to be brave and you need to play football. The pressing in the second half, round the goals, was different planet, outstanding. We wanted to win and the boys deserved it.

"I really respect the quality of the opponent. You can see what they do, you can see Man City five times a week, you watch it and see it and know you have to avoid this and deny that. It is all possible but quite difficult.

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"You need a good team to do that and I have one. It was a joy to watch how both teams threw everything on the pitch. Both teams tried to play football, defended well without a lot of hard fouls, a few tactical ones, especially from City in a period when we were on track. It is a nice commercial for Premier League football and the whole world was watching."

Ending City's unbeaten run of 22 Premier League games this season was also satisfying. "Maybe it is an historical game, maybe the only game they lose in the season but I think we deserved to win," he said.

Pep Guardiola congratulated Klopp on the win, and set his sights on an instant recovery when City face Newcastle in their next fixture. "It is our first defeat. We need to realise where we are and what we did. Football is unpredictable. We lost today against a fantastic team," said the City manager.

"Now we have to win the next one and be fighting to win the Premier League. Now we must be positive.

"It was a good game. They started well. They were aggressive without the ball and we had problems, then we started to play much better.

"We created chances and we started the second half good until the goal of [Roberto] Firmino. Then we lost our control in the environment of Anfield. We were still fighting and found two goals."

© Daily Telegraph, London


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